Chickpeas with tomato (chhole)

cooked chickpeas

Curry nation, Britain’s 100 favourite curries, 224pp.
by Madhur Jaffrey
Ebury Press,
Cooking on page 132

We love curries. It’s probably just as well because, over the last three years, we’ve spent almost six months in India and eaten some version of curry virtually three times a day.

The British love curries too: so much so that the country’s former favourite dish, fish and chips, has been replaced by chicken tikka masala. Madhur Jaffrey includes her recipe for this dish, but it is on pages 76–78.

Page 32 doesn’t have a recipe, so I moved on to 132 and one of my favourite ingredients—chickpeas (often called garbanzo beans). This north Indian recipe is from Sarita Udaniya of the Chaat House in Leicester.

Chickpeas with tomato

Chickpeas with tomato (chhole)

Ingredients
200g (7oz) dried chickpeas
½ large onion, finely chopped, plus 1 medium onion, finely sliced
2½ centimetres (1 inch) peeled root ginger, cut into slivers
3 tablespoons olive or sunflower oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
4 tablespoons tomato purée
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garam masala

ginger and onion cooking chickpeas chickpea liquid

Method
The night before, wash the chickpeas well, then place in a large bowl with 1.5 litres (2¾ pints) of water.

Next day, put the chickpeas and their soaking liquid into a large, deep pot about 25 centimetres (10 inches) in diameter, along with the chopped onion and the ginger. Bring to a boil over a high heat. Cover partially, reduce the heat to low and cook slowly for one to three hours, or until the chickpeas are very tender. (Or you could use a pressure cooker. Cook on full pressure for 17 minutes, then turn off the heat and let the pressure drop by itself.) Drain the chickpeas and set aside, reserving the liquid. Add enough water to the cooking liquid to make it up to 375ml (13 fl oz).

Clean out and dry the same pot. Pour in the oil and set it over a medium heat. When it’s hot, add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle for 10 seconds. Add the sliced onion and stir and fry for about five minutes, or until it turns light brown. Mix in the tomato purée and stir well for two minutes. Add the salt and return the chickpeas to the pot. Mix well. Pour in the reserved chickpea liquid and bring to a simmer. Add the garam masala and simmer over a low heat uncovered, for another 10 minutes. Serve hot.

How it played out
Lyn and Pete, our neighbours at the South Coast, were coming to Canberra for a couple of days, so I offered to make them one of my Indian feasts. This is when I make at least one more curry than the number of guests who are coming.

That means I have to start the proceedings at least two days in advance and that works perfectly when you need to remember to soak the chickpeas the day before.

curry nation cookbook

I made this recipe as written (not using a pressure cooker because I don’t have one). I used garam masala that I bought in India about six months ago. Great flavour.

Besides rice, served with chicken kabuli, paneer palak and a corn curry (recipes available on request). And a big plus was that I could serve it in one of the lovely copper bowls I bought in India.

Verdict
I love chickpeas in all forms and this recipe did not disappoint. I plan to soak dried peas regularly, just so I can make dishes like this on the spur of the moment.

Travel
Here’s a post from my travel blog on one of the delicious meals we had while in India.

Indian feast dishes

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About leggypeggy

Intrepid overland traveller, keen photographer, avid cook—known to jump out of airplanes and do other silly things. Do not act my age.
This entry was posted in Pulses, Side dish, Vegetable, Vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Chickpeas with tomato (chhole)

  1. We love curries too. At least twice fortnightly. Helvi often soaks lentils to make spicy soups. Last time they did not soften after cooking and remained intact . She is now buying them somewhere else. I will try out chickpeas soaking.
    Glad to hear the British now love their curries. Not so long ago, one of their culinary delights used to be eating cold cabbage in a draft while standing up. Thankfully all that has changed for the better. 😉
    Helsinki refuses to warm up ; +9c this morning! A hell of a lot warmer than Canberra!

    • leggypeggy says:

      We eat a lot of curries too. We should arrange a curry meal sometime, somewhere. Old lentils don’t soften, so Helvi is right to change suppliers. Although I once found a bag of chickpeas with a very old use-by date in the back of the cupboard. They didn’t soften and I was the guilty party.
      And yes, the weather has been a let-down. The only consolation has been that it is warmer than Canberra. But I should have brought more winter clothes. I even bought gloves here!

  2. blondieaka says:

    We have an Indian curry and a Thai curry every week. I also love chickpeas so we will be trying this one …Thank you, Peggy. The corn curry sounds different and would love the recipe, please 🙂

    • leggypeggy says:

      The corn curry and chicken kabuli are my two most requested recipes by people who know my Indian feasts. I’ll post recipes when I’m home from my travels (late June). Given that this blog sticks to page 32s, I’ll post on the travel blog. I suppose its time to post muqueca too (Brazilian prawn dish). 🙂

  3. Must absolutely try this recipe!
    Usually, we eat chickpeas in soup with short pasta 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!
    Ciao
    Sid

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